The league NHL has implemented enhanced protocols through January 7 to battle the recent spread of COVID-19 among its member teams, according to multiple reports including Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Among the new measures (which are similar to those used all of last season) are restrictions on indoor dining while on the road, masking and distancing in club facilities, and daily testing.
Darren Dreger of TSN notes that the protocols will be reviewed in early January and could be extended. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic adds that the NHLPA will hold an executive board call with the 32 player representatives to answer any questions regarding the enhanced protocols.
- Before those come into effect, another player has been ruled out. Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov will not play tonight after being placed in the COVID protocol, though they’ll get back some important pieces. Nicklas Backstrom has been activated from the injured non-roster list and will make his season debut. Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk have both been activated from the COVID protocol, while Anthony Mantha has been moved to long-term injured reserve. Kuznetsov, as Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic points out, was positive for coronavirus on two different occasions last season.
- Brian Lilley of the Toronto Sun reports that the provincial government is expected to force major sporting teams to cut attendance by 50 percent, a move that would impact the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Marlies, and Belleville Senators, along with many OHL teams and those in other sports. This comes just as the federal government has instituted a global travel advisory, urging Canadians to avoid any non-essential travel outside of the country.